Monday, January 7, 2008

2008 Book 2: Shoes of the Fisherman

Book #:2
Book Title:The Shoes of the Fisherman
Author:Morris West
Publisher:Wings Books (Random House)
Pub. Date:1993 (my version); 1963 (original)
Started:January 1, 2008
Finished:January 7, 2008
Time to Read:7 Days
Back Cover / Inside Flap:"The Pope is dead. The corridors of the Vatican hum with intrigue as Cardinals gather from around the world to elect his successor. The result startles everyone, not the least the man they have chosen: Kiril Lakota - a Russian, and survivor of seventeen years in the Soviet labor camps. Now, the crises he must face as he ascends the Throne of St. Peter will test his faith and courage more strongly than the Gulag ever did..."
Review:This is the first book in the best-selling Vatican Trilogy - the second, The Clowns of God, is the one listed in my first ten books, but since I prefer to read ordered books in, well, order, you have to trudge through my review of this one to get to the next! :-)

His Holiness, Pope Kiril I, is faced by many issues, after his election by acclamation. After so long in prison camps, he is out of touch with the world as it now appears around him. A Russian, he is a stranger in a strange land in the Roman-surrounded Vatican. From guiding a wandering sheep back to his Catholic flock to encouraging the work of an inquisitive Jesuit and his occasional foray into the world of political intrigue, the Pope has a busy first few months in office.

But it is the pressing concern of a nuclear war between superpowers like the USA and USSR that become the most pressing concern - and Kiril finds himself back in contact with his former tormentor - now the current ruler of Russia - and brokering secret discussions to save the world.

I like this book. A lot. Every word set down is just masterfully written - Morris West is really beyond compare. I do have some issues with this story, however. First, there are about four story lines going on at once. Now...West actually handles the multiple and somewhat converging story lines well - the reader never has an issue figuring out which characters are currently the center of attention. However, the ending of The Shoes of the Fisherman comes a bit abruptly, leaving a few of the story lines kind of hanging...there are semblances of conclusions, but they are seem a bit flimsy.

Overall, the trilogy is just marvelous, but this book is the weakest of the three. (And don't let the page count fool you - I have a hardbound edition that houses all three stories, and it's a tall book plus the typeprint is extremely small.)

If you have read or are planning to read this book, please make sure to stop back by and leave me a comment to let me know your own thoughts!

From my library to yours,


1 comment:

Penelope Anne said...

Curious, but I am not sure if I need more books on my TBR list.
Also not so sure it grabs me...but you never know with me.

When do you think you will be done with Cell?
I finished this morning.
I can hold off on my review a few days. Otherwise do not go to my Book Blog until after you finish the book.

Visit my Writing Blog or the main site instead though :)